Elephant Kandy

Pinnawala Elephants Orphanage – wonder of Sri Lankan captive elephants

Pinnawala Elephants Orphanage
Written by Lakshan Dinuka

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was started in 1975 by the Sri Lankan Wildlife Conservation Department. It is situated in Pinnawala village in Kegalla district Sri Lanka. Whole land area is close to 25 acres. Previous time it was established in Wilpattu National Park, and after that, it moved to tourist complex at Benthota, then to Dehiwala Zoo and finally, it was carried to Pinnawala Village

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Young Elephants
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Young Elephants

It was a coconut plantation near to Maha Oya River before this project. This place is a kind of hospital, care centre, the captive breeding ground for damaged, injured, helpless Sri Lankan elephants. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is the world biggest place that has the largest amount of captive elephants. Year to year the amount is changeable because it brings these animals from the forest and after they are done with animals again release to the forest.

                  From the east side of Highway B199, Rambukkana road, the primary residential care eras are established. You can see some restaurants and refreshments places and management buildings with sleeping sheds and veterinary facilities on the main site as well. Directly opposite sit on the west side of the highway there is the viewing area that you can see elephant bathing.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

      When it was beginning there were only five baby elephants which formed its nucleus. The project was planned to attract local and foreign visitors, income used to maintain the orphanage. This place became a tourism destination in 1978. In 1982 they started the elephants breeding program here. As a result of all these, in 2012 there were 78 elephants here.

Pinnawala Elephants Orphanage caring

In here they are highly caring about baby elephants abandoned before weaning, diseased or wounded. Lot of them are found when they in pits and ravines by falling during drought period.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

            There are 48 handlers to take care of elephants with good experiences.  Elephants are free twice per day to bath and drink water to the river. Females are individually chained in stalls at night. Adult males use to do some activities like transporting feed. Staff manage them chained and individually. Normally they are not using bottle-fed for the calves. But for the visitor attraction, they continue this bottle-fed in sometimes. To feed animals every day they transport jackfruit, coconut, sugar palm, tamarind and grass from outside. Normally adult male is given approximately 250 kilograms, but when they in the forest they get close to 150-200 kilograms.

Pinnawala Elephants Orphanage welfare

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Lot of elephants in Pinnawala are healthy and in good condition. They continue their wellness in a good way with supplied foods. But here there are few disabled animals and they are given residential care.

            Pinnawala Elephants Orphanage was the most successful topic under question animal welfare at the orphanage in 2010 reported by the Born Free Foundation.

Tourism in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Tourism in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Tourism in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

As a visitor, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a good destination to see the behaviours of amenable elephants.  You can see how they are feeding how they bath in the river.

            And to the park, you can take a better view of the care and daily routine of the elephants in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Another special program is you can see bottle feedings of elephant calves. The orphanage is open daily from 8.30 a.m to 5.30 p.m.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Entrance fees

Local ticket price in Pinnawala Elephants Orphanage

AdultLKR 110.00
ChildrenLKR 30.00 (3-12 yrs)
ChildrenLKR 20.00 (in uniform)

Foreign ticket price in Pinnawala Elephants Orphanage

AdultLKR 3000.00
ChildrenLKR 1500.00 (3-12 yrs)

SAARC visitor ticket price in Pinnawala Elephants Orphanage

AdultLKR 800.00
ChildrenLKR 400.00 (3-12 yrs)

How do you get to Pinnawala Orphanage from Kandy?

Kandy to pinnawala elephant Orphanage - Google Map image
Kandy to pinnawala elephant Orphanage – Google Map image

Pinnawala village is located 40 km away from Kandy. Near to Kegalle village. If you wish to travel by train, a better way is to get a train towards Kandy and get off from Rambukkana, then catch a bus that comes to Kegalla or hire a private transport service.  Otherwise, you can take a bus from Colombo to Kandy and get off from the Kegalla and take another bus to Rambukkana. From Rabukkana its only 2.1km to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

Accommodation Facilities in Pinnawala.

Grand Royal Pinnalanda.

This is one of the best hotels in Pinnawala. Hotel located in between the scenic Maha Oya river and famous country hills. We recommended this place because of the view that given by the hotel to you. from the hotel you can see the beautiful landscape of the river with the view of elephant bathing of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.


The Far Pavilion.

The far pavilion is the hotel that gives you a different and unique experience from Pinnawala. The design of the hotel also attracted you by your first picture. It will motivate you to accommodate and relax here.

      If we talk about the significance of this hotel. It located and surrounded by working farm. With the coconut oil factory and cheese making facilities. And also there are 32 verities of fruit trees, vegetables. You can make your own coconut oil here. They have provided that facility to you.

            And the far pavilion is only 20 minutes away from Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.


Villa Pinnawala & Restaurant

This place is made for your relaxation. It’s located in Pinnawala 56.3km away from Bandaranayaka International Airport.

      They are providing a lot of facilities to fulfil your needs in the vacation period. Including two swimming pools with hot tubs, free WIFI and parking availability. They have attached flat-screen TV for every unit. Some times you have pool views for balcony. And also you are provided night club on-site and you can taste a drink from the sidebar.

In the night the place like heaven. That much lighting arrangement and beauty they have occupied.  You can book rooms here via booking.com

Pinnawala Zoo

Pinnawala zoo
Pinnawala zoo

Pinnawala Zoo is the most famous near attraction to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. In Sri Lanka, all the national zoological gardens programs started in 1936. In the previous era, this whole area has been used to holding ground for animals before they were exported to Europe by German businessman call Jhon Hargenbeck. 1948 the government occupied these more lands and expanded up to 21 acres.

 In here you can see animals with their normal behaviours. Because they are not in small cages. There is an open large scale for them. Its open 8.30hrs – 18.00hrs in every day. But you should be there in 17.30hrs to take the last ticket.

Entrance Fees

Sri Lankan Visitors

Sri Lankan adultLKR 100.00
ChildrenLKR 30.00 (3-12 yrs)
ChildrenLKR 20.00 (School/ Nursery Group)

Overseas Visitors

AdultLKR 2500.00
ChildrenLKR 1250.00

SAARC Visitors

AdultLKR 700.00
ChildrenLKR 350.00

So feel this experience and to see these beautiful animals come to Pinnawala, Sri Lanka. Most attracted Asian elephants are live in Sri Lanka. If you are not going do safari activity this is the best place to discover them. Sri Lanka is a package of tourism destination in a small bag, again we invite you to come and take a look about this bag…

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